What's Up With The S Word?
You can shine your shoes and wear a suit You can comb your hair and look quite cute You can hide your face behind a smile One thing you can't hide is when you're crippled inside ~John Lennon~
Whether he intended it or not, when he penned Crippled Inside, John Lennon hit upon an aspect of the human condition.
We can fool each other for a time, but ultimately no one can disguise being crippled inside; any more than a disabled person can conceal their crutches or wheelchair. The magnitude of it goes far deeper than our efforts to wallpaper over a bad memory or obscure a character defect.
We are all crippled inside. To be human means to be impaired by sin, but we’d rather not talk about it in polite circles. Sin is ugly and disfiguring, and we desire to pretty ourselves up, so let’s not even discuss the S word, okay?
Can't Deal With It
The entire concept of sin is so disturbing that academia can get itself tied into analytical knots attempting to explain it away. With practiced human reasoning we engage in a shell game with the definition of sin.
We will call sin everything except sin. We train ourselves to blame sin and its consequences on everything and everyone rather than take personal responsibility for our actions, our attitudes and our spiritual condition.
We refer to sin as a bad habit while making allowances and excuses for our failings. We designate sin entertainment or recreation and then party to an early grave.
We label sin reproductive choice, which enables us to legalize on-demand infanticide. We christen sin culturally acceptable norms as we willingly become subservient slaves to the idols of consumerism, convenience and celebrity.
We dub sin a chronic social quandary and then attempt to fix it with good works or by throwing money at it. We diagnose sin a behavioral adjustment problem and convince ourselves we can rehabilitate it with therapy and psychobabble. But Lennon's conclusion was exactly right: No one can hide being crippled inside. We need supernatural help.
Despite our seemingly enlightened prescriptions, the remedy for sin and its incapacitating affect on us is really quite straightforward.
The cross that was silhouetted at Golgotha on a day that came to be known as Good Friday is the supernatural solution to sin. Christ’s sacrificial death on that cross is our salvation, but since our arrogance knows no boundaries, we’d rather not hear about the cross either, thank you very much.
The cross exists because of sin, but we have come to regard it as religious superstition that is far too simplistic for our age. Philosophers endeavor to rationalize it away; theologians endlessly debate its meaning or try to reduce it to the lowest common denominator; social engineers sanitize its horror to make it palatable; politicians conveniently wrap it around themselves like a pliable cloak; false prophets twist and pervert it.
The cross proclaims God’s redemptive plan and purpose for humanity; it is the centerpiece of the gospel and at the heart of grace. It is our Creator’s expression of everlasting love for us. To experience his free gift of forgiveness and restoration, God requires repentance and faith.
It is a strange truth, but on our own we cannot get there; we can mask but we cannot change our nature. Genuine repentance and faith means that we humbly acknowledge our sinfulness, which is not accomplished by our ability; it happens as a result of the mysterious drawing power of grace.
To define sin is not all that difficult. Simply put, sin is all about SELF. We elevate our wants and desires above any restrictions or boundaries. A first-century church leader put a fine point on the matter when he wrote: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
By that standard, who among us is without sin? And that’s the point; we all are in desperate need of the grace of God embodied on the cross of Calvary.
By God’s grand design, the good news of the cross is immutable. Nothing about the cross has ever changed. It is considered “foolishness” to our world, but its reconciling and healing power remains undiminished “for the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
What’s up with the S word is this: It is easy to see without looking too far that there is a fractured quality across the landscape of our lives. Sin is the culprit; sin is the sledgehammer that has shattered the bones of our soul to give us an internal limp that mars our perspective and relationships.
Only the cross of Christ can make us whole; only the cross of Christ can provide hope to broken homes populated by broken people who are crippled inside.
- Wanted Man
Wanted Man a.k.a. Ken R. Abell, seeks to be a blessing to others. He's a rake, a rambler, and a teller of tales who understands that there is strength in a story well told and well lived. To learn more, inquire or schedule him, visit this web site.
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